Book Review: This is Assisted Dying
One of Indigo’s “most anticipated books of 2022” was This is Assisted Dying, a memoir by euthanasia provider Dr. Stephanie Green. This shows how entrenched the culture of death has become, that readers were eagerly anticipating this book. Having followed the progression of euthanasia in Canada very closely, we were curious to read this firsthand account of a doctor who has dedicated her career to promoting and providing euthanasia.
Dr. Green is a euthanasia provider in Victoria, BC. She previously practiced maternity and newborn care until euthanasia, which she refers to as MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying), was legalized in Canada. At that time, she shifted her focus to providing euthanasia full time.
This is Assisted Dying is the story of Dr. Green’s first year providing euthanasia. She takes the reader on a journey to the most intimate situations her patients face and explores the vulnerability of patients at the end of life. She tells the stories of patients who are suffering terribly and want desperately for it to end and portrays herself as helping people by ending their suffering. Green is very focused on wording things in a certain way so that it doesn’t sound too much like she is killing a person. She calls the euthanasia procedure a “delivery,” viewing it as delivering a person to their death, just as she delivered newborn babies in her previous practice. She claims she is “empowering the person, not the disease.” (pg 52)
Green paints a seemingly beautiful picture of how patients can “choreograph their death,” reflective of a culture that is obsessed with control over every aspect of their life from conception to death. She asks the reader to imagine a scenario:
“What if you could decide, at the end of your life, exactly when and where your death would happen? What if instead of dying alone, in the middle of the night, in a hospital bed, you could be at home at a time of your choosing? You could decide who would be in the room with you, holding your hand, or embracing you as you left this Earth. And what if a doctor could help ensure that your death was comfortable, peaceful, and dignified? You might never look at death the same way again.” (pg 1)
A significant factor in all euthanasia discussions is this concept of dignity. Green’s research showed that the most common reason to request euthanasia was loss of autonomy and the loss of a sense of dignity. This stems from a viewpoint that does not include God, where people believe their dignity comes from how they perform and are perceived in this world. Where there is no concept of inherent dignity, there is also no sense of purpose in suffering.
One point that keeps coming up throughout the book is Dr. Green’s determination to operate within the law. She did not provide euthanasia before it was legal, and she is very determined to follow whatever regulations are currently in place. This begs the question, though – what happens when the law permits assisted death for more and more patients? Does the law determine what is right, or are there cases where her conscience would not allow her to provide euthanasia, such as a patient suffering from mental illness, or a minor?
In reading this book it seems possible that Dr. Green would indeed have a point where she would not support certain patients receiving euthanasia. However, additional research reveals her part in a recent submission to the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying in which they outline a protocol to euthanize even infants under the age of one. It seems that there is no end to the Canadian Association of MAiD Assessors and Providers’ (of which Dr. Green is a member) willingness to provide euthanasia. If a patient wants to be killed (or their parents want them euthanized, in the case of minors), any life is fair game when they view themselves through a lens of compassionate helping.
Dr. Green’s book is a good example of how well-intentioned people can go awry if they don’t have a strong foundation in God’s truth. This is Assisted Dying dresses euthanasia up in emotional language to deceive the reader into thinking that having doctors kill suffering patients is an act of compassion. Do not be fooled. Recognize instead how neglecting the biblical concepts of inherent dignity and sanctity of life has a devastating effect on the most vulnerable among us, and be renewed in your determination to stand against the expansion of euthanasia in Canada.